Last weekend, Joliet Catholic demonstrated that it intends to be a major player in this year’s Class 4A state tournament.
Just a few days after taking defending national champion Mother McAuley to three games, the Angels (5-2) won the second annual Metea Valley/Oswego East Kickoff Classic.
Joliet Catholic defeated Oak Park-River Forest (25-10, 25-18), St. Ignatius (25-20, 25-15) and Sterling (26-24, 25-12) in pool play, knocked off Providence (25-15, 25-16) in the semifinals and beat Whitney Young (25-13, 25-13) for the tournament title.
“I was extremely pleased with the way the girls played last weekend, winning every game in two against five good teams,” Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe said. “I felt like at times, not only were we playing well, but we were dominant.
“This team's potential is unlimited, and I can't wait to see where the girls go with it the rest of the season,” she added. “They have an incredible bond together and they play with a passion and a purpose.”
Joliet Catholic was powered by LaSalle University recruit Sarah Nahas (55 assists, 10 kills, 20 digs, 9 aces), junior outside hitter Emily Holbrook (31 kills, 27 digs, 9 aces) and senior libero Macaire Kelly (21 digs).
All three were named to the all-tournament team.
"Sarah, Emily and ‘Mac’ are three of our captains and they're very deserving of the honor,” Scheibe said. “The great thing is, we had several other players who also could have been all-tournament.”
Those “several others” include freshman outside hitter Emily Wilson (24 kills, 6 block kills), sophomore middle hitter Bella Ray (16 kills, 13 blocks), junior rightside hitter Sophie Krzysciak (20 kills) and junior setter Britney Drysch (43 assists).
“The girls really are already playing very well as a team,” Scheibe said. “But it's only August. It's only the first steps of the journey."
Tiffany Kim takes over for longtime veteran coach Chris Cooper this fall at Glenbrook North. Kim inherits a senior setter who is switching to the outside and a lot of new faces from last year’s 19-17 team which went 9-1 in the Central Suburban North.
Lauren Mendelson, a 5-foot-9 senior, moves to the outside after setting last year. Top newcomers include 6-foot sophomore middle hitter Erin Rosdahl, 6-foot sophomore middle hitter Lindy Vargas, and 5-10 junior outside hitter Madilyn Schooley.
Glenbrook North will face tough competition in the northern suburbs from Glenbrook South, New Trier and Loyola.
Shepard flashed a lot of potential last summer at the Palos Courts summer league and is ready to make some noise down south.
After falling to powerful Lincoln-Way East and host Plainfield North in pool play, the Lady Astros bounced back to win the Bronze Division at the Crosstown Showdown with wins over Plainfield South (25-22, 25-21), Oswego (25-12, 25-23) and Nazareth (25-23, 25-19).
Sarah Kirwan led the way for Shepard (6-2) with 12 kills against Nazareth while Meghan Rohe added 10 in the Bronze division clincher. Other standouts included libero Leah Bylut and setter Autumn Molenhouse.